FAQ: Your Corporate Innovation Questions, Answered

February 23, 2018

InnoLead regularly fields questions about corporate innovation from our members and poses them to our community of strategy, technology, and R&D leaders. Often, we use our Friday e-mail newsletter to share the latest question and gather responses.

Here’s a collection of questions we’ve answered recently:

Amazon Alexa: Are your developing a strategy for Amazon Alexa?

Rewards: What rewards have you offered employees who develop a viable proof of concept (POC) or minimum viable product (MVP)? Have you offered cash rewards, visibility within the company, or other opportunities?

Recruiting: We asked members of the InnoLead community if they’ve used executive recruiters to help bring in innovation team members. If so, who did they use?

Cross-Functioning Teams: Have you created a cross-functional group or structure that focuses on the front end of innovation and is fully integrated (i.e., brand experts, consumer experts, product experts, etc)? I’m particularly interested in where those teams are placed under one leader, so silos can be eliminated.

Communicating: What are the Best Ways to Communicate What the Innovation Group is Doing?

Whitespace: How can we make the case for innovating in the whitespace, not just building things related to existing products?

A Centralized Group?: Has your company created a centralized group to provide innovation services to the organization?

Budgeting: How have you budgeted for the launch of your innovation program? Was it based on a percent of revenue? What were the key “buckets” of spend? How did staffing evolve?

Team Makeup: How do you think about who should be on your innovation team—what kind of roles, and where do you find them?

Benchmarking: Who should we be benchmarking against? What do you do, why, and what’s the thinking behind it?

Internal Charges: Does your team charge other groups in the company for your services? If you don’t charge, why not?

Software: What Software Do You Use for Managing Ideas?

Metrics: What Metrics Do You Track for Your Innovation Center?

Sorting Ideas: How do you sort ideas to focus on the winners?

Hiring Innovators: How do you hire people for your innovation team, or your corporate ventures group, when your organization isn’t experienced in recruiting for or hiring those kinds of people?

Business Unit Ties: What is the optimal relationship between an innovation/team group and the lines of business?

Generating Revenue vs. Reducing Costs: Should innovation teams strive to generate revenue or reduce costs?

Startups: How do you collaborate with, or acquire, startups without “killing the butterfly?”